"Basic engineering science and application to real-world problems stand together on equal footing in our department."
Gary Parker joined the faculty of the Environmental Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering group in the summer of 2005. He holds a 75 percent appointment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a 25 percent appointment in the Department of Geology, where he is the W.H. Johnson Professor of Geology.
Prof. Parker was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2003, and received the G.K. Warren Award in Fluviatile Geomorphology in 2002. He has received the Schoemaker Award twice and the Ippen Award from the International Association of Hydraulic Research, and the Einstein Award, Hilgard Prize and Stevens Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 1991 he also received the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology Outstanding Teacher Award. In addition to numerous journal articles, he has written an e-book, “1D Sediment Transport Morphodynamics with Applications to Rivers and Turbidity Currents.” Parker teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in fluid mechanics, river engineering, sediment transport. One of Prof. Parker's major research goals is to use the fundamental techniques of fluid mechanics and applied mathematics to treat interesting geomorphological problems. Related special research includes mechanics of river meandering; oceanic turbidity currents; sorting of mixed grain sediment by fluvial processes; bank erosion and protection using permeable dikes and vegetation; and reservoir sedimentation. Development of a mechanistic understanding of the processes involved with sediment transport in rivers and the ocean environment, and the morphologies they create, is of prime importance. River meander migration research has led to the development of computer models that predict channel shift and can therefore be used in the design of floodplain structures such as bridges, intakes, etc. In addition, research on depositional submarine fans has been found useful to oil companies as a means of helping locate oil deposits.
Professor Parker’s major research interests are the mechanics of sediment-laden flow in rivers and turbidity currents, and resulting flow-boundary morphodynamic interactions. His current efforts focus on delta evolution, bedrock bedrock-alluvial transitions, bedrock meandering, drainage network formation, advection-dispersion of tracer pebbles, formation of continental shelves, muddy tidal morphodynamics, role of washload in rivers, long-runout turbidity currents and natural dam formation in meteogenic travertine systems.